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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 18 May 2022

PPS numbers stolen by criminals used to make fraudulent pandemic welfare claims

Over 20 gardaí are working to stop the fraud.

Image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

MEMBERS OF THE public are having their PPS numbers stolen to facilitate pandemic payment fraud, it has emerged.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) confirmed that gardaí seconded to its department are working on cases of fraud which amount to nearly €200k being stolen from the State. 

Several places of employment have been affected by the scam with some victims only realising what has happened when they viewed their latest tax certificates from Revenue. 

In one case, one woman said thousands of euro had been claimed on her PPS number. This matter remains under garda investigation. 

In other cases, people fell victim to a scam email purporting to be from the Irish Courts Service. It asked people for their details including their PPS numbers. Over 50 people were snared by this con.

In a statement, the DSP said it “is investigating a number of fraudulent claims for Pandemic Unemployment Payments arising from cases where false identities have been used”.   

The statement added: “The department takes identity fraud very seriously and any such cases are handled by its Special Investigation Unit, which includes over 20 Gardaí who are on secondment to the Department.

“A person with a concern regarding a social welfare payment having been claimed under their name and PPS Number should contact the Department immediately online here.

Gardaí confirmed several members are working with the department. 

A spokesman said: “There are 21 members of An Garda Síochána seconded to the Department of Enterprise And Social Presentation (DEASP) and all are conducting investigations into various types of Social Welfare fraud throughout the country. A number of these investigations are into the use of people’s PPS numbers.  These are ongoing investigations.”

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Revenue said it is conscious an individual may not be aware that he or she has been targeted by fraudsters or that PUP has been claimed under his or her PPSN.

Revenue said anyone concerned they might have targeted should access their Preliminary End of Year Statement for 2020 and Tax Credit Certificate for 2021, both of which are available through Revenue’s online service. 

If a PUP figure is displayed and you didn’t receive the payments, or the amount doesn’t tally with the payments you received, the person should contact the DSP immediately.

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